Forget the pictures you’ve seen in adult films and the “lifelike” drawings scrawled on public bathrooms, there is now a scientific guide for the average penis size – and hopefully it will put some men at ease.
British researchers have pooled the measurements of more than 15,000 men’s penises to more closely determine what constitutes “normal-sized” anatomy.
They found the average penis is 13.12 centimetres when erect and 9.31 centimetres when flaccid.
The team, led by psychiatrist David Veale, created graphs of both length and girth, finding the vast majority of men range between 11 and 15 centimetre in length and between 10 and 13 centimetres in circumference when erect.
“We believe these graphs will help doctors reassure the large majority of men that the size of their penis is in the normal range,” said Dr Veale, a specialist in body dysmorphic disorders at King’s College London Medical School.
Only 2.28 per cent of the population have an abnormally small penis.
A distribution of penis length among 15,000 men.
The researchers didn’t measure 15,000 men themselves – they combined the measurements of 20 other studies, from a variety of countries, into a meta-analysis.
The report dispelled several myths about penis size being related to a man’s shoe size or index finger. While urban legend says men of African descent tend to be well-endowed, the report found there was insufficient evidence to draw any conclusions about differences in the penis size of different races.
The question of size is one most men consider at some point in their life. One study included in the analysis reported that 55 percent of men were not satisfied with their size.
“This is a centuries-old issue,” Dr Veale told Fairfax Media. “It may have gotten worse as men may compare against models in porn films over the internet.”
But the same study found only 15 percent of women took issue with their partner’s anatomy.
“Girth is usually more important than length – and technique is more important,” said Dr Veale.
The team said the size scale may offer comfort to men who are overly concerned by the size, a condition known as “small penis anxiety”.
Dr Veale said about 10 percent of males, mostly young men, may have the condition. An even smaller proportion suffer body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), where they are preoccupied with the size of their penis and find it shameful.
A distribution of penis girth among 15,000 men.
“We will also use the graphs to examine the discrepancy between what a man believes to be their position on the graph and their actual position, or what they think they should be,” said Dr Veale, whose analysis has been published in the scientific journal BJU International.
One bone of contention is that only a few studies collected measurements while men had an erect penis; most studies had men stretch their flaccid penis to infer its erect size.
Dr Shomik Sengupta, from the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand, said for those men who fixate on the issue of size, these comparisons may not reduce their anxiety.
But he said treatments for penile enlargements, while widely advertised, were often not effective and potentially dangerous.
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